“Three months after I was out, I was back into the fantasy bay. – My first date was an absolute disaster. It wasn’t her fault, you know. And I didn’t blame her even then. I’m saying – it was a terrible tragedy but boy was it – she never talked to me again, it was awful. Wasn’t sexual or [gr…] I was just such a dork, taking her to a John Wayne movie and at Denny’s. It was terrible. I’d never been on a date! At 16 that was cool, you know?! I’d never been on a date! You know? I was locked up since I was 15, but I can’t tell her that, ‘Oh gee, don’t mind me,’ you know. She got kinda hung up on my looks or whatever, I mean, she’s a gorgeous young lady, pure class, and she saw something there that wasn’t there, and boy, did she find out quick.”
Ed Kemper about his first date after his release from atascadero in 1969
Source: The Killing of America (documentary directed by Leonard Schrader)
Edmund Kemper grew up like almost any other red-blooded American boy, which is to say, in a home where the parents quarrelled a great deal, separated, reunited, eventually were divorced, and where the mother wound up both caring for the children and working at a full-time job. He grew up worshipping Hollywood actor John Wayne, whose image intertwined and blurred in his mind with memories of the beloved father who had abandoned him.
Raised by a terrible mother, who didn’t hesitate to lock him in the cellar when he was a child, Edmund Kemper became very shy and isolated himself more and more. He dreamed of revenge, he thought of morbid games in which death and mutilation played an essential part. Aware of his inadequacy, he admired his absent father and actor John Wayne.
“John Wayne was very much like my father,” said Edmund Kemper, both physically and in his behavior. My father was a big guy who spoke loudly. Like John Wayne, he had very small feet. When I first went to Los Angeles, I immediately went to put my feet in the footprints of John Wayne, who are immortalized in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I was proud to see that my feet were bigger than his.”
Sources: The Co-Ed Killer, Margaret Cheney / Serial killers : Enquête mondiale sur les tueurs en série, Stéphane Bourgoin / Thanks to Catrin Elen Williams for the John Wayne pictures on Facebook
Ed Kemper often went to see movies at the Del Mar theater in Santa Cruz. Kemper has mentioned that he enjoyed films very much, such as John Wayne movies, war films and police thrillers.
Built in 1936, and located on Pacific Avenue, the Del Mar Theatre is an art deco triplex featuring a grand auditorium, tasty local snacks, organic popcorn (with real butter!) and weekly Midnight Movies. The theatre shows a wide variety of independent and foreign language films, as well as the best big-budget Hollywood movies, with state-of-the-art presentations in a welcoming community atmosphere. Extensively renovated and restored in February 2002, it has been operated by Landmark Theatres since December 2015.
During the period when Kemper had been transported to and from the San Mateo County Jail for trial, he had become acquainted with a slightly built Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy named Bruce Colomy, a man not much older than himself. Colomy had been kind to the gigantic defendant. Although no one would ever have confused the deputy with John Wayne, he nevertheless represented another father figure to Kemper. “He’s more like a father to me than anyone I have ever known,” he said. “He’s like the father I wish I had had.”
While imprisoned at Atascadero in the late 1960s, Kemper became a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees). During his trial, he wore his membership pin in his lapel, apparently with pride.
[Before being taken to state prison after his sentencing], slowly, Kemper removed the precious Junior Chamber of Commerce pin from the lapel of his buckskin jacket. Colomy described this episode, a scene that would have wrenched the heart of any B-grade movie fan. “Ed looked at it for a long time and tears came to his eyes. Then he handed it to me and said, ‘Here, I want you to have it.’”
From: Why: The Serial Killer In America by Margaret Cheney (1992, update of The Co-Ed Killer, 1976) / Pin is not the actual pin that belonged to Ed Kemper, but it is from the same time period.